Been a week.

Financial markets have been more than a bit rattled by Russia’s ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine – 20/20 hindsight says no one really priced in what a full-on ground invasion might cost.

Global equity markets – outside of an inward looking Wall Street were already bearish enough on the sniff of rising cash rates. European and emerging markets are down around 5% for March.

Inflation: where war and monetary policy Face/Off

The US inflation print came in overnight at 7.9%, and that’s before anyone even imagined a ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine might decapitate rationale and accelerate those rising global commodity prices.

The Bank of China’s Mark Todd says next month’s inflation number “will be a doozy” and the market will be flooded with references to the good ol’ 70s – when inflation closed in on 15%.

“In today’s world,” Todd says, “changes in mortgage rates are delivered via your mobile, in the 70s they sent you a letter! Today decisions and their outcomes are happening in real time, which is very un-70s.

The modern Federal Reserve will really hope the consumer is plugged in online and gets the message: save for tomorrow because it’s going to get more expensive.


All aboard the cash rate train

And NAB this morning joined the swelling ranks of prepare-for-some-cracking-inflationary-pressure.

The bank has upwardly revised its near-term forecasts for the CPI to around 1% in both Q1 and Q2 – taking the year-ended rate to 3.7% by mid-year.

“ As a result, we have also brought forward our cash rate profile, with the RBA expected to lift the cash rate by 15bps in August, with 25bp follow ups in September and November.” chief economist Alan Oster said.

With the war escalating in Europe – not getting used to writing that one – risks are intensifying across the theoretical and actual sides of the economy.

NAB says uncertainty as now highly elevated – but adds – the central-case for Australia’s economy largely remains strong.

The fact is – despite a significant spike in energy prices – our national accounts show consumption has rebounded nicely post-Delta, property investment, business and government spending, and strong labor demand all support some GDP growth – Oster says the jobless rate could hit 3.5% by mid-year.

“Based on recent upside surprises in the data, we now expect a lower unemployment rate and higher inflation in the near-term, while our forecasts for activity remain broadly unchanged.”



The all round seafood champion Catalano Seafood (ASX:CSF) has finally listed. Thank goodness. Down 7.5% in afternoon trade, it raised $6m at $0.20, and has plans to expand its distribution network, via a roll out of its Seafood Management Solution to supermarkets.

That’s it.

And here are the ones listing next week:

Norfolk Metals (ASX:NFL)

Listing: 14 March

IPO: $5.5m at $0.20

A gold and uranium explorer down in Tasmania, and up at its Orroroo uranium project in South Australia.


Many Peaks Gold (ASX:MPG)

Listing: 16 March

IPO: $5.5m at $0.20

Many Peaks likes gold and gold-copper where it’s looking about at the Yarrol Geological Province in Queensland.


Pure Resources (ASX:PR1)

Listing: 16 March

IPO: $4.65m at $0.20

Pure is about five projects in the Kimberley and Eastern Goldfields of WA, prospective for multiple minerals – bit of gold, nickel and copper.


Equity Story Group Limited (ASX:EQS)

Listing: 18 March

IPO: $5.5m at $0.20

The company offers stock market trading advice, research, investor education and fund management.


Pinnacle Minerals (ASX:PIM)

Listing: 18 March

IPO: $5.5m at $0.20

This explorer is focused on kaolin, with the Bobalong and Holly projects in WA and the White Knight and Camel Lake projects in SA.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for March 7 – 11:

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Now, up more than 50% for a nice week’s work is  a wee mighty metals explorer Terramin Australia Limited (ASX:TZN), which has scaled the heights of its August price.

The digger is the flavour of the week for fans of both base AND precious metals, thanks to a waiver from the ASX regarding security over its Terramin Exploration Pty Ltd assets in favour of the Asipac Group – a suspect set up which describes itself as, ‘a boutique Corporate Advisory, Finance, Properties and Wealth Management Corporation.’

Siren Gold (ASX:SNG)says it has intersected significant visible gold in the deepest hole drilled to date at its Alexander River project in New Zealand. Emma Davies has a cool pic of it. It does look lovely.

SNG is focused on exploring the rich Reefton gold district on the South Island of New Zealand – an area which has already delivered 2Moz across 84 historical mines.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for March 7 – 11:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

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There’s been other losers, goodness knows… but well – it should’ve been great – but it has been a bit of a shite  week for Nickel Mines Ltd (ASX: NIC).

Ahead about 1.6% for the day after MD Justin Werner told the market NIC is withdrawing its share purchase plan, returning circa $60 million to shareholders.

But still down 28% for the week to Friday.

Last month February NIC went back to the market, seeking capital to fund its stake in the Oracle Nickel Project (ONI).

Back then the plan seemed pretty simple – raise US$235 for an initial 30% stake. The SPP welcomed takers with an issue price of $1.37 per share. Nickel Mines said it received $57m.

Fast forward to this week.

Nickel futures went burko topping US$100,000 a tonne before the London Metals Exchange shut the front door.

Good news? Not entirely good, no. Because Nickel Mines’ largest shareholder, ‘Big Shot’ – aka Xiang Guangda, founder of Tsinghan.

As detailed in this enlightening essay from Stockhead Editor Peter Farqhuar Biggie is holding some terrifying short positions against the metal of the moment.

Thus NIC fell and fell hard as shareholders did the math, and bailed the ship.

With the stock trading well below the SPP issue price, Werner has nixed the whole scheme:

“ …given market volatility and the retraction in the Company’s share price in recent days the Board of Directors have agreed that it is in the best interests of shareholders to cancel the SPP effective immediately and return all applications in full. The proceeds of the SPP are not required for the acquisition of the 70% equity interest in the Oracle Nickel Project.”

Back to square one.